US Copyright Office wakes up to flaws in anti-hacking law

Monday, 14 October 2002, 1:45 PM EST

Federal copyright regulators are opening the door for new exceptions to a controversial copyright law that has landed one publisher in court and a Russian programmer in jail.

The United States Copyright Office is launching a rare round of public comment on rules that bar people from breaking through digital copy-protection technology on works such as music, movies, software or electronic books. Regulators aren't looking to change the law but they are looking for public suggestions on what kinds of activity should be legalised in spite of the rules.

This is only the second time in the controversial law's five-year history that the public has been able to pitch in with suggestions for exceptions. Critics of the law say they will use the opportunity to draw wider public attention to the way its restrictions can affect ordinary people.

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